The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is a one-of-a-kind holiday adventure into Victorian London – an elaborate party with hundreds of costumed players performing and interacting with patrons in over 120,000 square feet of theatrically-lit music halls, pubs, dance floors and Christmas shops.
It’s a twilight evening in Charles Dickens’ London Town; a city of winding lanes filled with colorful characters from both literature and history. Enticing aromas of roasted chestnuts and hearty foods fill the air. Cries of street vendors hawking their wares ring out above the bustling crowd. Dozens of lamplit shops are filled to overflowing with Christmas gifts. The Dickens Christmas Fair is a treasured Bay Area tradition since 1970 and a splendid way to celebrate the holidays.
Four weekends including the Friday after Thanksgiving: November 29th through December 22nd, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM PST Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Avenue, San Francisco General Admission, $25. Student/Senior/Military, $21. Children 5-11, $12. Children Under 5, Free. Groups of 15 or more, $17. Pickwick Club (Fair season pass), $60.
The 24th annual Union Square Tree Lighting on November 22nd, 2013, featuring Macy’s gift to the City of San Francisco and most recognizable Christmas tree. The 83-foot tall, reusable tree will be dressed with 33,000 energy-efficient twinkling LED lights.
One of the prettiest features of winter and Christmas in San Francisco is the lighting – lights on buildings, on trees and in windows, which look even better as the nights get longer and colder. When the light diplays switch on (starting the week before Thanksgiving) you know it’s the onset of the holiday season.
Friday, November 22nd, 2013 Union Square, San Francisco – located between Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets
Fiesta on the Hill is a community based, high-profile and energetic Festival with an attendance of over 20,000 friends and neighbors from San Francisco’s Bernal Heights area, neighboring communities and the greater Bay Area. The event is in its 25th year and continues to grow and enhance the ethnic, cultural and economic diversity of the Bernal Heights District of San Francisco and surrounding neighborhoods.
Presented by the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, an organization devoted to community action, equity and justice in the Bernal Heights area, the 25th annual Fiesta is an alcohol free event that emphasizes the importance of well being to the vitality of the neighborhood. The event includes a petting zoo, pony rides, a pumpkin patch, non-profit booths, live music on two stages, great food and a great sense of healthy, inclusive community.
Sunday, October 20, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM PST Cortland Avenue from Bocana Avenue to Folsom Street, Bernal Heights, San Francisco No admission fee
San Francisco Fleet Week celebrates the rich naval tradition in the Bay Area, honors the men and women serving in today’s armed forces and facilitates annual disaster preparedness training with the Navy, Marines and local first responders. A tradition since 1981, Fleet Week is the most anticipated Fall event in San Francisco.
With an estimated audience of 1 million, spectators are drawn every year to the city’s northern waterfront to be awed by a parade of Navy ships, along with a spectacular aerial show that includes the world renowned Navy Blue Angels. With breathtakingly precise maneuvers, the Blue Angels sweep the San Francisco Bay and over the Golden Gate Bridge with their signature blue aircraft and tight formations. Also on hand are a variety of other nighttime entertainment venues that kick off just as the sun sets over San Francisco Bay.
Tickets to events vary in price. See website for ticket information.
The free Bay Area festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, returns to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park from October 4th through the 6th. Last year’s festival was the first since the event’s billionaire founder and bluegrass enthusiast Warren Hellman passed away. From its outset, the HSB festival has been funded by the venture capitalist who, prior to his death just over a year ago set in place a plan that would ensure the event receives necessary funding for at least 10 years after his passing. The site of the festival has been named “Hellman’s Hollow” in his honor.
October 4th through the 6th, 2013 Hellman Hollow, Lindley & Marx meadows in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco Free admission
For many years, San Francisco has been known for its love of the blues. This year’s Polk Street Blues Festival, produced by Steven Restivo Event Services, LLC for the Polk District’s Merchants Association, blends the beloved San Francisco festival atmosphere with great blues music, variety vendors, tasty treats and family friendly fun. People looking to escape the crowded downtown San Francisco chain stores and enjoy a warm, friendly neighborhood atmosphere need look no further than Polk Street.
The Polk Street Blues Festival will feature two main stages, a merchant marketplace, arts and crafts, gourmet food booths, a large family area, cafe seating areas and much more. This is the only free blues event in San Francisco, certain to be well attended and becoming one of the best in the country.
Saturday and Sunday, September 21st & 22nd, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM PST Polk Street between Pacific and Union Streets, San Francisco Free admission
Come join spectators and competitors for a weekend of world-class dragon boat racing, spectacular cultural performances, and fun-filled activities for the whole family at the largest competitive dragon boat festival in the United States. This year, the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival has over 130 dragon boat teams and 3,500 dragon boat paddlers racing in the 300 and 500 meter courses. Dragon boat teams range from novice to competitive skill level. Novice teams represent local Bay Area corporations, public agencies and non-profit community. Recreational and competitive teams practice year-round and hail from all over the United States, Canada and the Netherlands. This year’s championship race is going to be one of the fiercest battle for victory to date!
In addition to the exciting dragon boat racing, the Festival features many fun cultural activities: an entertainment stage with live dance and music performances, the Dragon Land children’s activity pavillion and a variety of food, arts & crafts and other vendors.
September 14th and 15th, 2013 Festival hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST Racing is from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST Treasure Island, San Francisco No admission fee
Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is excited to invite you to the 18th annual, two-day chocolate celebration that has transformed into a true San Francisco staple. Over 30 vendors generously donate sample-sized portions of their products to help raise money for Project Open Hand, a fundraising organization that provides “meals with love” to people living with serious illnesses and to seniors in San Francisco and Alameda County.
With such a significantly historical part of our heritage beautifully located in the heart of San Francisco’s waterfront, it makes perfect sense to throw a chocolate festival where it all began. Festival goers have the chance to experience the latest chocolate trends all while surrounding themselves in the rich history of America’s longest operating chocolate company. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival started in 1996, and has been a hit every year since. Due to the overwhelming success, the festival has extend down to Beach Street and not only occupies the Plaza in the Square, but a full San Francisco block.
September 14th and 15th, 2013 Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco Advance online tickets: $20 for 15 sample tickets At the door: $25 for 15 sample tickets General events are at no charge